Numerous early-stage firms utilise family and friends for help when getting a business off the ground, but is it sustainable working alongside a sibling? Business Advice spoke to a number of firms with brothers and sisters at the helm to find out what the experience is actually like.

Gemma and Paul Young are currently raising £250,000 of investment on equity crowdfunding platform SyndicateRoom for their new venture Settled. It’s an online portal for buying and selling homes, offering a commission-free experience which aims to give the control to the seller.

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So far, the platform has received backing from a Google executive as well as Facebook’s head of European Partner Marketing Adam Harrison, both of whom feel it can tap into the £3bn spent on agent fees each year in the UK.

Settled’s business model offers both homebuyers and sellers the option to get instant quotes for mortgages or solicitors, with the business earning money from referral fees.

Gemma said it provided a “cost-effective and simple way” for sellers to reach buyers and to avoid what can often be a problematic experience with a lack of communication, fears over transparency, a period of high emotion and hidden costs.

Settled is just one of many smaller companies operated by members of the same family. Many micro businesses rely on relatives for help with their firms – nearly two thirds need the support of family and friends to keep them running according to Lloyds Bank Insurance. It’s very much the norm to see family chipping in with day-to-day tasks, as well as working full-time for the business.

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